Custer High School, Class of 1960. The 50th reunion (Dave’s) coincided with Gold Discovery Days in Custer, South Dakota, July 23 and 24. Now, Gold Discovery Days equal a big deal for this town of 1800 and all the high school classes schedule their reunions for this same weekend.
It turns out there wasn’t much gold in them thar Black Hills, but the celebration continues. The Class of 1945 rode in the parade in Model T’s; let’s see, that would make most of the members at least 83 years old – and there were at least ten of them.
We left Nashville and the ravine on Thursday, the 22nd. We dropped off Murphy at Miss Kitty’s Bed and Bath – Murphy, the little black and white girl Shih-tzu who has taken so well to having a set of grandparents just “through the skybridge.” She usually goes to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s every morning after breakfast and her morning walk. They listen for her bark at the door and run (well, maybe walk fast) to let her in. She drinks fresh water that Grandma puts out and then, with a big sigh, lies down at Grandpa’s feet in the den for a morning nap.
Murphy loves Miss Kitty’s; what’s not to love? No dogs over twenty inches tall, they take them out four times a day for play time, and a caretaker spends the night. They even get birthday parties if their boarding happens to coincide. So we just say that she’s “going on vacation, too” and she romps down the hallway to find her ward and her room. Mom and Dad don’t mind our vacations but they’re not crazy about Murphy’s.
The South Dakota trip was a fast one, just four days and three nights. Amazing what you can pack into a short time and space: Mt. Rushmore, the sixty-year old unfinished Crazy Horse monument, the Needles, Custer State Park, the Gold Pan Saloon (swinging doors, sawdust floors), the Buglin Bull Restaurant and Sports Bar (on the other side of the main street, Mt. Rushmore Road), Fort Gordon, the car show, Cattleman’s Family Dining, a “Frontier Photo,” almost two thousand buffalo, a dozen deer, five antelope, five or six hundred wild donkeys, twelve fields of wildflowers, and the Gold Discovery Days Parade with a couple hundred small children chasing after candy or dodging water balloons (both standards thrown from floats).
We did not miss Nashville and we did not really miss the ravine; we were having too much fun sopping up the South Dakota weather – 85 in the daytime, down to 60 or lower after the sunset. When we landed in Nashville at 7:30 on Sunday night, it was 95. Ninety-five. By the time we pulled in the driveway, Mom and Dad were both in bed. We’d pick Murphy up on Monday after her hairdresser appointment.
“Hi, we’re home!” I called as I walked through Mom’s back door.
“Yeah, how was your trip?” she gave a perfunctory response.
Dad interrupted with “Yeah, when is Murphy coming home?”